A Nun and a Companion walk into a Tea Bar...

OOC: Joint Post between Esimed & WanderingWolf

Jacy stood there with her hands on her hips staring after the absconding Gill. She pursed her lips and and shook her head. “Well Lyen, I’m glad I still have you because young Master Gill has abandoned me and all the junk in my trunk. If you could help me drag this into one of the rooms we can stash it for later and go enjoy ourselves in the city.” Jacy grabbed the handle of the largest trunk and began lugging it forward a foot at a time.

Lyen picked up her end of the trunk and helped Jacy drag it into the room she indicated, not too far from her own. “I’m happy to tag along, in fact, there are some things I’ve been meaning to pick up. I think the Lunar Veil could do with some incense and I think they might have a tea here I haven’t had in ages. I think I’ve boiled all the ginger out of our ginger tea,” she said, with a sour look. “I’d like to visit a temple, too, if there’s one in the city and we have the time.” Ly thought about changing into her robe in case they did see the temple, but decided she’d been cooped up enough in this shiny metal box. “If you don’t mind me asking, what do you keep in these trunks?”

“Mostly clothes, but there are quite a few accessories as well.” Jacy and Lyen pushed the trunk into a corner and went back for the two smaller trunks. “It was never really meant to be a secret especially once the Captain was made aware so it won’t hurt to discuss it now. I came on board the Lunar Veil posing as a deckhand only to ascertain the ardor with which I could expect to receive Daddy Keller’s aide in a series of upcoming jobs. If I pulled off the charade with any success at all I’d be surprised.” Jacy stopped and gave Lyen her full attention. The nun seemed like the sort to take everything in stride, but you never could tell in advance. “I’m a member of the Companion Guild and my work requires that I routinely visit with clients and accompany them to various social engagements. Thus the need for a functioning shuttle and the clothes. Clients prefer I dress the part and normally take delight in providing me with just the perfect ensemble, at least in their eyes. I should really donate some of them as I can’t wear them all, but I’m not sure the needy have any need for slinky evening gowns. There’s a thought! Perhaps you have need of some clothing? I saw you arrived traveling light.”

With a passive expression at first, Ly tilted her head while Jacy unveiled that she was a Companion and how the bounty of clothes she had accrued were in association with her career. When the offer came for the ‘slinky evening gowns’ Ly let out a short laugh. “What a kind offer, but I’m not sure I’d have much use for the evening gowns. If you have other clothing you won’t be needing, perhaps I could take a look,” she was craning her neck around the room to see if anything stood out from what was visible. “You’re very kind to offer; and thank you for confiding in me about your work. I have never met a Companion before,” Lyen gave a gentle smile and ran her hand along the trunk. “I’d be curious to hear what that’s been like for you.” A Companion’s work was unfamiliar and almost inconceivable to her; she guessed that it elevated pleasure to a form of worship, an understanding with humanity of its needs and values. She’d heard of their value system, the reverence Companions received from those in high and low standing, but these were children trained from childhood to devote their lives to the pleasure of others--at least, that was her perception which Jacy could help clarify.

“Well you won’t hurt my feelings if you’d rather buy something new, but the offers always on the table. I thought we could do some shopping while we’re out and we could get to know one another.”

“I’d like that very much,” the nun said, “I’m ready when you are; I’m looking forward to getting off this ship for a spell, stretch my legs, see the sights. I didn’t get out much while in the monastery--this whole journey’s been one new thing after another.”

A few minutes later the two of them were leaving the docking sector and walking the clean streets of Valentine. They would not wander so far as to move away from those well maintained streets and Valentine certainly had areas that received less care and upkeep, but by and large it was a planet that lived up to its moniker as the Honeymoon Planet. The exorbitant pricing on the goods and luxury items in the many shops was probably the most crime Jacy and Lyen would encounter.

The pair first stopped in a clothier’s shop whose sign indicated cleaning services were also available. Jacy made arrangements to have her laundry from the ship collected and washed to be returned by day’s end. Having handled the only real errand she couldn’t overlook, Jacy suggested that they find a boutique for Lyen’s tea. They weren't in any particular hurry and having a goal in mind did nothing to distract Jacy from popping into other shops along the way. By the time they turned onto the cobbled street with it’s beautiful gold and green themed buildings, Jacy had more than a few bags in hand. She pointed excitedly at the fancy facades on store fronts until they came across one that specialized in teas from around the system.

“It looks perfect, Lyen. Let us see if we can find what you’re looking for.”

The shop was a beautiful, modern and wide-windowed store front with every tea imaginable nestled in neat vertical rows so that the walls were lined with blends and brews with samples below to taste. The nun’s eyes lit up in excitement; few things were enjoyed as thoroughly as tea in the monastery. Deep meditation required tea afterwards. Likewise, tea was required after strenuous yoga and martial arts. Ly was of the mind that a good kettle of tea (who could have just one cup?) could settle any Earthly need.

Along the right wall was displayed all manner of black teas blended with variants and spices to enliven the mind and senses. Along the left were exciting oolongs, calming herbals, and sumptuous sweet blends of decadent tea -- she even saw one that had rose petals and marshmallows! Soft music played that reminded her of what she might expect a symphony hall to play on any core planet. But straight ahead was the main event for Lyen: green tea in all its iterations. Specifically, she was looking for the decorative and ornate dragon pearls that were sold by the ounce in tiny tightly-wrapped balls. When exposed to hot water they unfurled to become beautiful open flowers that extended in three-dimensional-angles suspended in the liquid.

“Oh my,” the nun was trying to appear perfunctory, but found it difficult. “Have you ever seen so much tea in your life?” she turned to Jacy with a wide smile. The nun was trying not to glow and gush when she made a bow to the tea attendant at the far end of the hall and picked up a sample cup in which to pour a particular blend of monkey paw oolong. With the cup to her lips Ly breathed deeply and gulped loudly. Her cheeks were getting sore from smiling.

“You must try this one,” she said to Jacy, putting down her cup and moving across the hall to an adjacent sample, a simple yet elegant honey bush brew. “It’s so calming and warm; I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.” She’d watched with curiosity as Jacy had flitted between shops and boutiques on their journey in Valentine. The air conditioned and perfume-smelling stores had evoked such high class society that Jacy must have been accustomed to, given her profession. But this place smelled of Earth and natural musks from leaves and herbs, and though obviously an upscale boutique, had a simplicity in image as it sold an experience rather than an article of clothing.

Tea had never been one of Jacy’s passions. In that admission she’d probably disappointed some of her mentors over the years. She loved the fancy sets with their delicate kettles and little cups and accessories, but she didn’t particularly enjoy the actual drinking of tea. She loved the rituals behind tea service and using it as a means to calm others or redirect their focus, but she didn’t particularly enjoy the actual drinking of tea. She liked buying things and showing things off, but she didn’t actually enjoy tea itself. Lyen however, was clearly a fan of the leaf. Jacy would not dream of divulging her true feelings on the matter, not when Lyen was taking such joy from something so harmless. And Jacy was well trained at pretending to enjoy activities that she would otherwise not partake in. With practiced grace she lifted the cup to her mouth and breathed in the steam before blowing on the surface of the liquid and tipping it back slightly to pass her lips and into her mouth. She closed her eyes for a three count as if savoring the brew. Her smile for Lyen turned mischievous, “That is serene. But if you wished to feel calm and warm all over, I know another way.”

TBC

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